Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, host of last weekend’s Values Voter Summit, noted the appearance of prominent politicians Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia), Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Newt Gingrich, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts), and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) – all potential 2008 presidential candidates. And recalling the famous line by Ronald Reagan at the 1980 National Affairs Briefing of the nascent Religious Right – “I know you can’t endorse me, but I want you to know that I endorse you” – Perkins writes:
The Washington Briefing, however, was not an opportunity for us to endorse candidates but rather an opportunity for candidates to endorse us and our values.
And indeed, sandwiched in between speakers shouting about “faggots” and telling electoral activists how to deceive their fellow churchgoers, these politicians expressed their admiration for the assembled. As George Allen said, “I want you to count on me as a teammate … as part of your extended family.”